Auto parts retailer MALZ Motoring & Leisure Zone is in the hands of receivers after collapsing under the weight of an $8 million debt.
Receivers and managers KPMG told creditors this week that, at this stage, MALZ's four Perth stores would continue to trade. A buyer is being sought.
MALZ chairman Ray Della-Polina said the 10-year-old company had been attempting to develop two extra stores at Malaga and Joondalup.
"It's very disappointing," Mr Della-Polina said. "We didn't get the growth we planned and anticipated. There's been some significant road bumps over about the last four years which impacted on cash flow. We've been trying to raise some capital but . . . haven't been successful. The model works quite well but not with four stores."
The retailer was co-founded in 2004 by Mr Della-Polina, the former boss of car parts chain Marlows, after Super Cheap Autos bought Marlows for $25 million.
On top of auto parts, MALZ outlets in Cannington, Cockburn, Balcatta and Midland sell caravan and camping gear, gardening equipment and other leisure products.
The stores will continue to honour gift vouchers but will not issue more under receivership.
Secured creditor National Australia Bank is owed $2 million. MALZ shareholders are the biggest unsecured creditors through loans extended to the business. About $400,000 is owed to staff in the form of vouchers from sales competitions.
Administrator Kim Strickland of WA Insolvency Solutions said one party had expressed interest in buying the business. "We believe there's another couple as well," Mr Strickland said.
Mr Della-Polina's family trust was the majority owner of the retailer. His son Michael is a director and former Marlows executives Matt Conder and Des Ellis are shareholders and directors.
Unrestricted from competing against their old business, the directors launched MALZ less than a year after selling Marlows. They also revived Marlows' blue and gold branding for the MALZ stores.
Mr Della-Polina said he was open to having a future role in the business.